Oddly enough, before this evening the only band I’d ever seen in o2 Academy Leeds before was in fact White Lies who were on the second leg of their ‘Friends’ tour and played Live at Leeds Festival. Fast forward two years and the band are back with a brand new album ‘Five’, an album that may not push too many boundaries but it’s fresh and one of the best releases of the year so far.
On returning to o2 Academy Leeds this time I was sure the space had shrunk as it was a lot smaller than I’d remembered. However, the nearing 2000 capacity venue had filled out pretty well even before the support act, Canadian band Boniface took to the stage. The last time Boniface played in Leeds they played to around 100 people and upon stating that, the band seemed quite overwhelmed by the response on the evening. The band combine ambient, indie-rock music with something quite anthemic and although their live performance was rather easy-listening, they certainly weren’t boring.
Erupting into the slow-burner that is seven minute long new track and album opener ‘Time To Give’, White Lies commanded the stage from the word go. Old favourite ‘Farewell To The Fairground’ picked up the pace with ‘Believe It’ continuing this with its sing-along chorus. Even with it being a new track, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone not joining in with its chorus.
The first half of the band’s set was dominated by mostly new tracks (from both ‘Friends’ and latest album ‘Five’). Although they fit like a glove amongst themselves and the older tracks, there’s a distinct similarity among them that makes it a little tedious. With other gigs there’s been more of a mixture of older tracks breaking it up a little. It’s only a minor issue because they still smash out hit after hit regardless.
The delicate but also contrastingly powerful once it gets going ‘Finish Line’ slowed the pace a little mid-set and the live version of the track brought it a whole new lease of life. This was followed by the upbeat, chirpy track that is ‘Tokyo’, aka, 2019’s ‘Morning In LA’ that broke up ‘Unfinished Business’ and ‘Death’ which both get the crowd singing about all things morbid like old times.
Following the encore Harry returned to the stage with a “hi Leeds, it’s just me for this one…” before going into a solo, piano rendition of ‘Change’, an emotional track taken from their third album but never played live until this tour. The encore was completed by ‘Five’ album closer ‘Fire and Wings’ before finishing up with crowd-pleaser, ‘To Lose My Life’. The band’s performance at o2 Leeds Academy was a very much welcome return for White Lies and it shows just how far they’ve come over the last 10 years since releasing their debut ‘To Lose My Life’.